Port city under heavy waterlogging risk
Enayet Karim with Ayub Ali: Chaktai canal-the lifeline of Chattogram city is on the verge of extinction due to illegal occupation by the grabbers even after the drive of CDA with the connivance of Bangladesh Army. The canal is recently grabbed on the bridge point, which has cruelly narrowed the river. It is now difficult to cross two mid-size boats on the point. As a result, the port city becomes under heavy waterlogging and the commodity transportation by boat inside the city is also being ruined.
According to the CDA, some 300 illegal structured have sprung up on 5.88 km along the Chaktai canal before two years but again the influentials have occupied the canal and established structures including heavy building.
The CPA with the help of Bangladesh Army demolished around 60 illegal structures along the Chaktai canal in 2018.
The CDA source told, “Initially, 866 structures were demolished to ensure free flow of water, while 710 establishments were bulldozed to construct roads beside the canals. At least 1,576 illegal structures on 13 canals have already been identified,” they added.
According to the CDA, some 300 illegal structured have sprung up on 5.88 km along the Chaktai canal.
A survey conducted by the Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), revealed that 123 acres of 13 major canals in the port city have been occupied over the years.
More than 1,500 illegal structures have sprung up illegally that have been obstructing the free flow of water, causing waterlogging. The illegal structures include concrete buildings, shanties, tin-shed houses, graveyards and crematoriums, CDA said. The city has 57 identified canals, which are homes to six million people in the port city.
Around one-third of Chittagong district goes under water during the monsoon every year, while the southern part of the coastal city gets flooded during high tides, even when there is no rain.
CDA has completed digging of Chaktai Canal under a mega project worth Tk 50 billion to end water-logging in the port city but the result is only washed away of public money. The waterlogging still remained as usual.
The Engineering Division of Bangladesh Army, the appointed contractor of the project, has completed the digging at three points of the canal-Chandanpura, Dhunirpool and Khalifapatty areas.
Chaktal Canal is the major part of the project. With the completion of the canal digging, water logging in the port city to be eased at a greater extent.
Two contractors for the mega project have been appointed. They are Spectra Limited and Karim Group.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a revolutionary step to free the port city from the curse of water-logging with the approval of a project in an ECNEC meeting last year.
The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) under the Housing and Public Works Ministry will implement the project which was scheduled to be completed by June 2020.
Moreover, a meeting of ECNEC to allocate the project money was held with the Prime Minister in the chair. The meeting had approved initial amount of Tk 500 crore to begin the project.
The projects include canal re-excavation, extension, renovation and development to solve water logging in Chittagong city. The implementation of the project would help remove of rainwater quickly from the city.
The project entities include re-excavation of 36 canals within the city areas, construction of 12 sluice gates and pump house on the estuary of six canals, construction of six culverts, procurement of necessary equipment, cleaning of 320 km long existing drains, construction of retaining wall of 178 kilometres, construction of 48 girder bridges, re-excavation of all existing drains in 302 kilometre areas and installation of 880 electric poles.
A total of 57 canals carry away wastes and rainwater of Chittagong, a city of 8 million people, but these canals fail to remove waste and rainwater because of illegal occupation and clogging.